Orlando Fringe 2024 review: 'The Stakeout by Martin Dockery'

As always, there are few things at Fringe more mesmerizing than Martin Dockery’s haunting imagination.

Longtime Fringe-favorite writer/performer Martin Dockery is back in Orlando again with another brain-bending dramedy directed by Vanessa Quesnelle, which will linger in your mind long after its chilling final fadeout.

"The Stakeout" sees two suit-and-tie wearing FBI agents — Dockery as a veteran of the can-and-string era on the eve of retirement, and Andrew Broaddus as a rookie on his first day out of the academy — sitting in a surveillance van, surveilling another van that’s surveilling them right back. After eavesdropping on a distressing domestic conversation, the younger one becomes vulnerable and verbose, triggering an increasingly surreal avalanche of circular conversations centered around cyclically repeated phrases.

In this knockoff noir universe where cop show clichés are made concrete, the rapid-fire rat-tat-tat dialogue sounds like Sam  Spade as written by Samuel Beckett, performed by Abbott  & Costello and produced by Dick Wolf. Dockery still has an evocatively absurdist way with words ("Relationships are dune buggies driven by monkeys who have lost their keys"), but scratch that nonsensical surface and you'll find a distressingly personal parable about absent fathers, abandoned children and the pressures that can tear apart a loving home. 

Like many of Dockery's plays, "The Stakeout" starts out deceptively pedestrian, then metamorphosizes into a metaphysical parable that would make Rod Serling proud. I might not have become quite as emotionally invested as I was in his elegiac "Moonlight After Midnight," and it wasn't as cathartic to intellectually unpack as "Inescapable" (which he's been reprising as a 24-hour marathon). But as always, there are few things at Fringe more mesmerizing than Martin Dockery’s haunting imagination.

Orlando Fringe: Tickets and times for "The Stakeout by Martin Dockery"

Location Details

Orlando Fringe Gold Venue

Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave. Mills 50


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